The 2013 baseball season is underway and you don’t know how you should feel about our beloved Seattle Mariners. Fear not, M’s fans. I’m not hear to tell you how you should feel (that’s no one’s place), but I can give you 11 reasons why you might be able to shed some cynicism and believe in this year’s team.
Without further delay…
11. Chone Figgins is gone.
Lest you think three years of vitriol directed towards the Mariners’ sometimes-third baseman was unwarranted, consider this:
In 2012, the team had a record of 75-87 (.451). Chone Figgins appeared in 67 games, during which time the Mariners plodded along at a 26-41 rate (.388). In the remaining 95 games, sans Figgins, the team played at an above-.500 clip, amassing a 49-46 total (.516). Damn near unbelievable.
The trend doesn’t end there, either. Over Figgins’ three-year tenure with the club, the M’s put together a less-than-impressive 203-283 win-loss sum (.418). With their diminutive Donkey from Shrek lookalike in the lineup, the team was just 123-186 (.398). Without him? Try five-plus percentage points higher, .451, at 80-97. So yeah, he actually did make a difference. In the worst way possible.
On top of all that, Figgy just wasn’t very likable, and at the end of the day, paying the guy $8.5 million to go away was worth it simply from a public relations standpoint. The public hated Figgins and now he’s gone. That’s good P.R. if I’ve ever seen it.
10. They get to play Houston 19 times this year.
Nineteen times!!! That’s like 19 games against a semi-pro squad!
I’m telling you right now, the American League Western Division champion will be the team that has the most victories over the Astros. This may as well be a presidential election, and Houston may as well be our Ohio. Swing state, all the way.
9. Felix Hernandez will make at least 30 starts.
That’s like 30 wins right there. A third of our triumphs are basically already counted for.
8. Every A.L. West team has its fair share of warts.
The Mariners may have some question marks at the back end of their rotation, as well as the ever-looming threat of a power outage in the lineup, but they certainly aren’t alone in showcasing a few blemishes on their pate.
Down in Los Angeles (better known to geography aficianados as “Anaheim”), the Angels are dealing with a revamped starting pitching staff that lost an ace (Zack Greinke) and a mainstay (Ervin Santana). Though Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson were obtained to fill the respective voids, one could easily infer that the overall quality of the rotation, one through five, has decreased.
In Oakland, the Athletics are comprised of the usual mish-mash of journeymen, up-and-comers, and no-names. If everything plays to perfection, the team will make a strong push around August, per usual. But as always, the A’s will be in wait-and-see mode until that time. A few key losses along the way and this team has just as good a chance to be out of the playoff picture as they do to be in it come late-summer.
The Rangers were most stricken by defections over the offseason, losing the heart of their order (Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli) and the soul of their team (Michael Young) to other ballclubs. Pitching is always a concern in Texas, and this year is no different. Relying heavily on a de facto ace in Matt Harrison and a soon-to-be-ace in Yu Darvish, the Rangers will need to keep all their arms healthy in order to stay at the top of the standings. An increased workload for Darvish, however, could very well land him on the disabled list by mid-year.
And then there’s Houston…yeah.
Point is, this division is by no means closed. The A’s were AL West champs a year ago, and they’re certainly no favorite to repeat. The Angels are considered the leaders in the clubhouse to finish first, but the same could have been said a year ago and they floundered. The Rangers have been to the World Series twice in the past three years, but they’re a completely different squad this season. The Astros are a punching bag who will serve as a season-long spoiler. And the Mariners are lying in the weeds, on the rise and with the ability to seize a golden opportunity if they so desire. It’s anyone’s race.
7. They have a real-life middle-of-the-order now.
The Mariners’ 2013 Opening Day lineup featured a 5-6-7-8 combo of Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero, and Dustin Ackley, in that order. This same quartet was counted on last season to fill out the heart of the team’s lineup, often batting in some arrangement of 2-3-4-5. The difference? The arrivals of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales.
Morse and Morales may not be first-tier major league stars, but they are imposing figures in a lineup that has lacked exactly that for many years now. Each is capable of blasting 30-plus home runs, while neither should sacrifice much in the way of average as they supply that power — Morse is a career .295 batter, while Morales has hit at a .280 pace over his big league tenure.
The presence of the M’s M&M duo has taken a hefty dose of pressure off the likes of the aforementioned youngsters, Smoak, Seager, Montero, and Ackley. Rather than being asked to carry the lineup, these four can now simply focus on contributing. And as a bonus, the team as a whole should see an uptick in offensive production.
6. The bullpen is ridiculous.
Three guys who consistently flirt with triple digits on the radar gun.
A guy who would start for many teams in the league.
A hard-throwing lefty with a (figurative) chip on his shoulder.
A left-handed specialist who can pitch two innings, if needed.
A six-foot-eight-inch ex-starter who can throw in long relief, middle relief, or simply induce a ground ball if needed.
Stephen Pryor, Carter Capps, and Tom Wilhelmsen.
You might not know all the names yet. But you will.
5. They instituted $5 draft beer at Safeco Field.
Look. We all know this team won’t win every game. Heck, they might not win enough games to make the postseason. It’s a real possibility, and frankly, considered a likelihood at this point. So what do we do when they lose? Drink. And if you happen to be at a game and the team is losing (or, you know, winning — the outcome is kind of irrelevant), you can drink for cheaper than you drank last year.
I noticed a glaring absence at Safeco Field in 2012: cheap beer. Of course, when it comes to big league ballparks, the term “cheap beer” is entirely relative. But two years ago, the team offered more affordable options like Miller High Life and Busch Light for around $6 per pint (as opposed to around $8.75 per pint for your standard American domestic draft).
I made the omission known to my buddy Kevin Martinez, who also doubles as the team’s Vice President of Marketing. Kevin took that information, then went and did us all a solid.
Thanks to Kevin and his team, instead of $6 cheap beers on tap, we now have $5 cheap beers on tap. And that deal exists every day at the ballpark. There’s no special arrangement for this sort of thing. It’s every single day.
The $5 beers are sold at two locations in the stadium: at a new bar behind home plate, right next to the semi-hidden Mariners Hall of Fame; and at a stand right outside the entrance to the Hit It Here Cafe.
They’re not bar prices, they’re not happy hour prices, but for a professional sporting event, this is about as good as it gets. I can’t justify a $9 Bud Light. But I can damn well sip on a $5 High Life and not feel bad about it. In this instance at least, we can thank the organization for doing right by the fans.
4. Ichiro is gone.
We all love Ichiro. He’s a baseball icon, a Mariners legend, and a future Hall of Famer. To label him otherwise would be entirely unjust.
For all his greatness, however, Ichiro served as a symbol of the franchise’s decade-long struggles with ineptitude. Though he bridged the gap from the team’s success of the 116-win 2001 season, Ichiro was not so much a leader as he was an individual talent that existed amidst a backdrop of failure.
As time went by and the Mariners continued their losing ways, Ichiro’s presence became less of a boon and more of a burden on a roster desperate for dramatic turnover. A veritable statue both in right field and atop the batting order, the aging outfielder blocked younger players from reaching the majors (consider that over his playing career, the M’s traded away the likes of Adam Jones and Shin-Soo Choo), and arguably stunted the development of others (Casper Wells and Michael Saunders, to name two).
With Ichiro’s departure last summer, the M’s have finally absolved themselves of the man who had come to personify the organization’s lack of commitment to winning. Entering our first full year without such a stalwart along for the ride will allow the team to finally emerge from the long shadow Ichiro cast upon this entire ballclub.
3. They have players who actually want to be here.
Raul Ibanez is back, and that says a lot. Yeah, the cynics will say that this is just another futile attempt at rekindling the flame with one of Seattle’s favorite sons, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, in the past the Mariners have been known to flirt with nostalgia, but the differences between Ibanez and, say, a Ken Griffey Jr. are two-fold. One, Ibanez is still a productive major leaguer, even at the ripe old age of 40. And two, Ibanez elected to play here not out of sentimentality, but because he knows he can make a difference with a team that, believe it or not, has playoff potential.
Mike Morse is back, and that says a lot, too. Shortly after being acquired from the Nationals over the offseason, Morse took to all forms of media (print, radio, social) and announced his unbridled enthusiasm for a return to the Pacific Northwest. It was a little surprising, seeing as how his career never really took off until after the lanky outfielder shed his Mariners uniform, but the giddiness and excitement seemed genuine and resonated with fans at the same time.
These are just two individuals, of course, but if you think back over the past decade, there aren’t too many guys you can name who were this eager to play for the M’s.
“Buying in” is a mantra preached across the street, more synonymous with our football team than the club inhabiting Safeco Field. Short of Pete Carroll positioning himself atop the steps of the first base dugout, however, Morse and Ibanez have single-handedly perpetuated a culture of “team” that has been sorely lacking on this squad for years. Instead of individuals with personal agendas floating through our ballpark before embarking elsewhere, it seems that these two acquisitions (re-acquisitions) alone have changed the mentality of the on-field product for the better.
2. They’re undefeated.
As of print time, the Mariners are 2-0 and by definition among the best teams in Major League Baseball. Though some curmudgeonly pundits will have you believe otherwise, that record and those two initial triumphs are not entirely inconsequential. Every win, any win, is a great thing.
1. They’re likable.
Yeah, I get it. As long as Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong head up this organization, there will always be at least two reasons to loathe the Seattle Mariners. Forget those guys. They happen to be a pair of flies on our glorious buffet spread. They’ll get theirs eventually, and their legacies will always outlive their own regimes. Beyond the dictatorship of two bumbling fools, there’s a lot of good permeating throughout this team.
When it comes to the on-field product, let’s face it, it’s tough to despise the Mariners. There’s no Figgins and no Ichiro. There are no Milton Bradleys, no Jack Custs, no Johjimas or Sexsons or Lopezes or any other albatrosses destined to drag this team through the mud for a season.
This team is young, it’s rejuvenated, it has the potential to be entertaining, to be successful, to be a joy to watch play. It’s filled with promise (Ackley, Seager, Montero, Saunders, Brandon Maurer, to name five) and production (Morse, Morales, Felix, to name three).
There are smiles in the clubhouse, there are players who seem to enjoy one another’s company, and there’s a sense of quiet confidence that can be felt by fans.
There aren’t jerks wearing SEATTLE across their chests. There aren’t any unwarranted, bloated contracts raising eyebrows and lowering hopes. There aren’t slap-hitting pansies trying to pick fights with their manager. There aren’t malcontents pouting on the bench. There aren’t egotists pulling up half-assed on fly balls, unwilling to sell out for their teammates.
For the first time in a long time, this team feels like it’s headed in the right direction. Whether that leads us to the promised land in 2013 remains to be seen. Without a doubt, though, it’s something we can all believe in. That belief alone should be reason for optimism.
Filed under: Mariners
Later in the afternoon, it was announced by Chris Hansen and the Sonics Arena team that a “Priority Ticket Wait List” would debut for prospective Sonics season ticketholders on Thursday. At that point, damn near ecstatic, I said to myself, “My goodness. Things just keep improving. Is it at all possible that this day could get any better? There’s no way. No possible way.”
But then I thought, actually, yes there is a way for this day to get better.
If the Mariners were to somehow reacquire Chone Figgins from the Florida Marlins with the sole intention of cutting him, that would make my day better. Much better, in fact. Possibly the best day I’ve ever had. And that got me thinking about how on earth we could obtain Figgins for our own sadistic pleasure of re-releasing him.
This will not be easy, of course. Not only is Figgins in the Marlins’ camp on a minor league deal, he has to be willing to ink a contract with the Mariners before he can come here and be released. So rather than just make this a baseball move, I figure we have to expand our mission to include all walks of life. That’s right, we need to look to cut Figgins from literally anything by which he can possibly be cut.
The truth is, in the labyrinth of my mind, all the paths my thoughts travel down ultimately lead to scenarios in which we not-so-coincidentally happen upon the Mariners’ ex-third baseman…and then cut him. Because honestly, has there been a greater day in the past year than November 28th, 2012, the day Figgins was officially released from his contract? Heck no, there hasn’t. So yeah, I’d like to continue reliving that moment over and over and over again. Let me tell you how I see it playing out.
We pool our money and locally franchise two Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants. Why two? Well, for starters, the BWW chain has some weird policy I once heard about through a friend that requires any prospective franchisee to agree to open not one, but two establishments. We’ll hedge our bets and just assume my friend was telling the truth. But even if he wasn’t, that second franchise will come in handy. And really, who even cares if this plan backfires? BWW is my favorite chain restaurant of all freakin’ time. We’ll always have beer and wings to fall back on if shit really hits the fan.
Anyway, we open our restaurants. We do well. Of course we do well. We’re pros. We’re sports fans operating two sports bars. This plan can’t fail (said every sports bar-owning sports fan ever). And after we go raid the Home Depot parking lot for our kitchen staff, we might even expand the menu a bit. Branch out, take risks, display a little moxie. Headquarters will be impressed. They’ll want to do big things with us. And what will we do? We’ll sell one of our restaurants. Yep. Sell it. And you know why we’ll sell it? Because at that moment, that franchise will have ridiculous value. So we’ll sell it. And after we sell it, this is what we’ll do next.
First of all, we’ll use the internet to track down Chone Figgins. Where is that guy these days, anyhow? Fort Lauderdale, Florida? No kidding! I’ve been there once or twice. Warm weather, it’s great. We’ll use a little bit of the money we made selling our restaurant to take a trip to Fort Lauderdale.
We’ll get to Fort Lauderdale and find Figgins playing for a semi-competitive rec softball team. They’ll have a sponsor, but it will be a weak sponsor. Some chemical company, or a shady used car dealership, or a law firm — like everyone really wants to wear Meyer, Jones, and Goldman across their chest, or something.
We’ll take in one of the team’s games. After the game, we’ll approach the team captain. “We’re from Buffalo Wild Wings,” we’ll say — and it will be true, because we still own that one restaurant back home — “and we want to sponsor you guys.” We’ll offer up free post-game appetizers and drinks at all our Florida locations (haha, take that, Florida), then agree to supply the team with jerseys and the like. We only have one condition, we’ll tell them. We want to play on the squad, too.
They’ll mull it over. They’ll get back to us in a couple days. Undoubtedly, spicy sauce and bubbling hops will win them over. They’ll agree to our sponsorship. They’ll let us on the team.
There will be three of us playing with this club. We’ll be good enough to earn the respect of the others. We’ll remain steadfast in our longterm goal. We’ll ascend to a certain status as the season drags on. The captain will miss a couple weeks to take his family on vacation. In his absence, we’ll seize the moment.
A mutiny will quietly simmer. The three of us united in our pursuit of greatness will disperse amongst the roster and begin dropping hints to the others.
“Have you noticed the way Chone looks at your wife?” we’ll say. “It’s kind of weird.”
“Dude,” we’ll tell our fourth outfielder, “the other day, after the game, I picked up my cell and Chone had snapped a photo of his junk using my phone’s camera. Who does that? You better guard your phone, bro.”
“Hey, man,” we’ll impart upon our behemoth first baseman with a heart of gold, “I saw Chone run over this squirrel last week when we were leaving the parking lot. It was brutal. And then you know what he did? Put his car in reverse and ran over it again. Then pulled forward…again! And then reversed once more after that. Never seen anything like it. I couldn’t believe it. Broke my heart…”
This will continue for days. By the time our captain returns from vacation, the team will be seething. We’ll take him aside one day and let him in on the secrets of his time away.
“Hey, Efren,” — his name will be Efren — “just wanted to let you know that the guys have been noticing some things with Chone — weird things — and we don’t really know if it’s a good idea that he keep playing with us. Maybe you should ask all of them and see what they think. There was talk of voting him off the squad while you were away, but we really wanted to respect you as captain and wait for your return. Go ahead and ask the guys. We should really make this a team-wide decision.”
Efren will contact the guys. They’ll relay the same information we gave them. Guys are like that. We don’t really think for ourselves sometimes. We just pass along intel. I did it earlier with the whole “two Buffalo Wild Wings franchises” rumor. You all saw it. That’s how we operate. But I digress.
Efren will hear story after story of Chone’s weird behavior. He’ll realize that we can’t have this sort of thing on the team. “No,” he’ll tell our catcher, “I had no idea that Chone was into — what’d you say it was called? Anime bukkake? Am I saying it right? That just doesn’t sound right…”
And thus we’ll have a rebellion on our hands.
Efren will call Chone. He will break him the news — “I’m sorry, Chone. But we’re gonna have to let you go.” — while we sit and whisper encouraging words to our captain — “You’re doing the right thing, Efren! Atta boy!”
Chone will want an explanation as to why he’s being released from yet another team. We’ll cut Efren off right then and there. “He’s not worth it, Efren!” we’ll say. We’ll grab the phone away from Efren. “You know what you did, Chone!” we’ll shout into the phone, and then we’ll slam it back down on its receiver with exaggerated authority. Conversation over.
We’ll console Efren — “Had to be done, bro, had to be done.” — but Efren will never be the same again. He was a pawn. Every good mission goes through its share of pawns. All of Efren’s teammates will be pawns, too. Their scars will heal, however; Efren’s may not.
He will cry a little bit. We’ll put on a pot of soup to help ease his pain. We’ll give him comforting pats on the back and tell him that it won’t be all that hard to replace the .200 batting average and sub-par throwing arm. But at night’s end, despite Efren’s assurances that he’ll be okay, we will know in our heart of hearts that this mission may very well have spawned two victims. Godspeed, Efren, we’ll think as we depart. Godspeed.
We’ll depart for the airport. We’ll buy our plane tickets back to Seattle. We’ll arrive home a few hours later and head straight for the lone Buffalo Wild Wings franchise we still own. We’ll enter the bar, sit down at a table, look one another in the eye, and know. At that moment, we’ll know. We did it. We did what once seemed impossible. It cost us thousands and thousands of dollars, months of our lives, and possibly a little dignity. But we succeeded. And in this world we live in, so often punctuated by failure, we will know that we set forth on a mission and we did not fail.
We’ll order a round of beers. We’ll order some wings. We’ll drink, we’ll eat, we’ll regale our patrons with tales of our glory, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry. We will live having thrived. We will exist having conquered. We will be heroes.
We will have reacquired Chone Figgins…and then cut him again. It will be, in a word, glorious.
Filed under: Mariners
There have been, and will always be, more insufferable human beings.
There have been, and will certainly always be, bigger free agent busts.
But when you combine a lack of talent with an insufferable nature, then add a bloated contract to the mix, what you get is the worst player in Seattle Mariners history. Who you see before you, friends, is Chone Figgins.
Call him a disappointment. Call him a nuisance. Call him a distraction, a failure, a bad decision. He is all of those things. Chone Figgins is — or better yet, because we can say it now, was — the most frustrating, irritating, annoying, pestering, festering excuse for a baseball player that ever put on a Seattle uniform. He collected a paycheck and never delivered. Ever. Outside of becoming the subject of our scathing bits of wit over the past three seasons, Figgins provided no value whatsoever. He was, as they say, a contractual albatross. Albeit the most puny, undersized albatross you’ve ever seen.
As of November 28, 2012, it is official: Chone Figgins has been released. Not 10 days prior, the 34-year-old benchwarmer had been designated for assignment by the Mariners. Unsurprisingly, the team was unable to find any ballclub willing to take Figgins off their hands in that period of a week-and-a-half. And so, with that, the organization quietly disposed of their waste.
Figgins’ legacy in Seattle will be highlighted by two defining moments. One, his attempt to fight manager Don Wakamatsu in 2010. And two, his infamous “Dumb question” post-game interview with members of the media. Neither one of those historical achievements occurred between the baselines. Which should tell you everything you need to know about Chone Figgins the baseball player.
You can look up the stats if you wish. They’re awful. So ridiculously awful. Here. Go here. You’ll find every number that attributes itself to Figgins’ suck-tastic tenure with the M’s. Perhaps the most important figures are towards the bottom of that page, where contract details are presented. The man who was supposed to be the team’s third baseman collected $8.5 million in 2010, $9.5 million in 2011, and $9 million in 2012. That’s a total of $27 million spent on essentially nothing. To top it all off, the Mariners will be paying their former employee another $8 million in 2013. That’s a lot of money to give someone to go away. It’s probably the wisest financial decision the team has made so far when it comes to Figgins.
There is nothing good to say about him. Nearly every article ever written about the guy — by most, if not all the media members in this town — was negative. He was here. He sucked. End of story.
No one will shed a tear over his departure. No one will mind that he’s leaving. He has become the symbolic representation of his now-former team’s failures of the past decade. He was the personification of ineptitude, the figurehead of unfulfilled expectations.
I want to lambast him one final time. I want to call out every one of his flaws and air them for the world to see. I want to tell you how much I truly despise the guy. How I hate the way he greeted this city, the way he played the game, the way he handled himself with the media, all of that. But instead, I’ll leave with you this.
In an era where seemingly every Seattle Mariner gets his own miniature likeness carved from a tree and painted in shades of teal and navy, where even one-time disappointment Yuniesky Betancourt has a spring in his neck and nods silently on the bookshelf of at least one fan, there is the following tweet. It served as a clarification to myself and another, discussing what may have become of Chone Figgins over the years. It was delivered by the man who would know best, the Mariners’ Vice President of Marketing, the guru himself, Kevin Martinez. And if it doesn’t perfectly sum up the end of Figgins’ reign of terror, nothing else will:
— Kevin Martinez (@Kevin_Martinez) November 23, 2012
Filed under: Mariners
Top 11: Reasons The 2012 Mariners Are Worse Than Your First Sexual Experience (aka, Your Mariners Midseason Failure Analysis)
The 2012 Mariners have been an abomination. They are Paris Hilton acting, combined with Lindsay Lohan singing, mixed with Gilbert Gottfried speaking, blended together with any of the Real Housewives screaming (“You’re supposed to be my friend, Tamra!” Well, you’re a crazy bitch, Vicki.).
Think of the worst things you’ve ever been a part of, then make them more boring than they were at the time. Like, your first sexual experience, for example. That was horrendous, was it not? Trust me, it was. You may not want to believe it was…but I guarantee you, it was bad. Which isn’t to say that you haven’t corrected yourself in the bedroom as time has passed. Frankly, it’s not easy to take what you’ve learned in health class and put it to good use. A two-dimensional vagina looks nothing like a three-dimensional vagina. They don’t tell you that, though. You have to figure that out on your own. On the fly. As a kid.
Anyway, I digress.
My point here is that if you took your frighteningly awful first sexual experience and made it boring on top of what it already was, you’d have the 2012 Mariners. The M’s are the awkward clumsiness of teenage body parts clashing together as one, the requisite forced “I love yous” that follow, the feeling of regret, the saline of tears, and that fear of “OhmygoddidIgetherpregnant?!” – yeah, that fear is real – topped off with all the pizzazz of the Vanilla Sky plot. I hope that sounds as horrible to you as it does to me. Personally, I found “awkward clumsiness of teenage body parts clashing together as one” to be the most horrible line.
Let’s call this midseason report card what it really is: a failure analysis. Not only that, but let’s list out 11 of the reasons the team is failing. We can do this. It’s on par with belting a Hector Noesi 0-and-2 fastball right over the outfield wall. So much easier than it may seem.
11. Steve Delabar is not a Major League pitcher, yet has been tasked with pitching in Major League Baseball.
Not that it’s particularly fair to single out an average middle reliever, but let’s face facts here: the Mariners are the proud parents of a 16-year-old son, Steve, who they have naively handed a brand new BMW. Steve, in turn, has promptly rewarded his ‘rents for their stupidity by wrapping said BMW around a pole. This is essentially the relationship between the M’s and Delabar, who has been entrusted to throw in 29 of the team’s first 87 games this year.
Delabar is a great Triple-A pitcher. He throws fast. An upper-90s heater is nothing to mess with. But in the bigs, fast just doesn’t cut it. The man tosses a four-seam fastball that sits flatter than Renee Zellweger. Big league hitters are paid to unload on flat fastballs no matter how rapidly they may be approaching home plate. And if you look at Delabar’s numbers, the data reveals just how detrimental his Zellweger-ball has been to the club.
In his 29 appearances, Delabar has managed to piece together a .174 Batting Average Against, to go with a neat little 0.92 WHIP. He’s also struck out 41 hitters. Not bad by any means. But then you look at his ERA. And everything falls apart. Not unlike Tom Cruise in the aforementioned Vanilla Sky.
Despite his miniscule BAA, WHIP, and all those Ks he’s collected, Delabar owns a robust 4.45 ERA. Egads. When you dig a little deeper, you find that of the 29 hits he’s relinquished this year, 10 have gone for extra bases (that’s 35-percent, for you math majors out there), and eight (eight!!!) have gone into the stands for home runs. And get this: while Delabar has only been credited with 15 runs allowed, he’s let 17 men score on home runs alone! So not only is he hurting his own earned-run average, he’s directly impacting the respective ERAs of his teammates due to all those inherited baserunners.
Delabar should have been demoted long ago — and in fact he was, in June, before resurfacing with the Mariners in July — yet continues to languish in the big show. Is it time to send him down for good? Probably. Will the M’s do it? Unlikely.
10. Franklin Gutierrez and Mike Carp are fragile.
Okay, maybe not fragile, per se. But injured nonetheless. Though if anyone can think of a better adjective for Guti, I’d like to hear it. Fra-gee-lay. It’s Italian.
Both Gutierrez and Carp were being counted on to comprise two-thirds of the team’s outfield, while playing substantial roles for the 2012 M’s. Instead, both began the year on the disabled list…and both remain on the disabled list currently. For those of you keeping score at home, allow me to clarify that that’s two DL stints apiece. Each player made his not-so-triumphant return to action, only to see his season hit another roadblock with a second physical malady. Such is the life of a professional athlete.
By the time both players return (again) to the playing field, it will be far too late to salvage an all-but-lost season. But alas, there’s always next year…
9. Brandon League is crap.
Let me just go on record as saying I’ve always despised Brandon League. Even when he was moderately successful a year ago, it was tough to like the guy. I’ve chronicled my displeasure for his lack of testicular fortitude many times on these pages, so there’s really no need to elaborate. Let’s just say that he and I don’t see eye to eye where mental toughness is concerned.
With that said, you won’t find too many Brandon League fans anywhere these days. League has been absolutely abysmal, blowing six saves in 15 opportunities and standing idly by as he was given Rick Vaughn’s Major League II role of pitching in garbage-time situations. In less-tenuous moments, League has been slightly more tolerable than he was as a late-inning implosion-waiting-to-happen. Still, though, how valuable is a relief pitcher that can’t pitch when a win hangs in the balance?
According to the rest of Major League Baseball, that value is not perceived to be very high. Which is unfortunate. Because the Mariners would like to trade League, and yet there aren’t many suitors for his not-so-desirable skill set.
A year ago, the story was much different. League was a top-notch closer who was flat-out getting the job done. The franchise could have flipped the hard-throwing right-hander for a bounty of prospects. Instead, they held onto their asset in hopes of God-knows-what. And twelve months later, here we sit with a fistful of Enron stock.
Perhaps that’s the greatest tragedy in the entire Brandon League saga. The Mariners didn’t have to be burdened by League’s presence. They chose to be. They had the opportunity to sell their investment at its peak value, and they politely declined. That is such a Marinery Mariner thing to do.
8. Hector Noesi needs to learn how to pitch.
Somewhere around age 13 or 14, I learned that as a pitcher, when you get ahead in a count 0-2, you should never throw the ensuing pitch anywhere near the middle of the plate. Hector Noesi, apparently, did not learn what I learned.
In reality, it’s fairly common knowledge to most baseball players that 0-2 pitches are best served away from the strike zone. As a hitter you learn to expect a “waste pitch” 0-2, yet you still remain extremely defensive and vigilant with a lone strike standing between you and bitter disappointment (leading to an increased likelihood of you, the hitter, putting the ball in play if it is remotely close to the zone). As a pitcher, you want to deliver a ball that’s near-unhittable, while potentially baiting your bat-swinging foil into chasing a pitch outside his coverage area. It’s a tactic familiar to most, but foreign to a guy like Noesi.
Noesi is one of those pitchers who scouts would say has great “stuff.” What is “stuff,” exactly? Basically, “stuff” amounts to a pitcher’s ability to combine a lively fastball with a decent supplementary repertoire. “Stuff,” as it turns out, often equates to talent. Which is to say that Hector Noesi is quite talented. At least in his physical ability to manipulate a baseball.
Where Noesi is not quite as talented comes in his ability to either a) learn, b) remember, or c) execute. He either hasn’t learned to hurl 0-2 pitches away from the batter’s preferred locale, doesn’t remember he needs to do that, or simply can’t execute such a simple task.
To better assist him in learning, remembering, or executing, the M’s recently demoted Noesi to Triple-A Tacoma. The fact that the 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic managed to last in the team’s starting rotation through June can either be attributed to Noesi’s vast array of “stuff,” or more likely, a testament to the team’s perennial suckitude.
Either way, had Noesi remained a big leaguer for the duration of the year, he would have been hard-pressed to avoid Jamie Moyer’s single-season team record of 44 home runs allowed. With 20 souvenirs deposited into the seats at the hands of the righty, Noesi was in danger of setting all kinds of marks in longball futility.
But wait, there’s more.
Getting back to that point about 0-2 counts, it should be noted that one-fifth of all the homers Noesi has allowed have come when he was ahead 0-and-2. Twenty-percent wouldn’t seem like such a drastic number, until you figure that home runs on 0-2 counts almost never happen. Seriously. Google “home runs allowed on 0-2 counts.” The first search result that appears? An article on Hector Noesi. I kid you not. He is that synonymous with this statistical anomaly.
Let’s hope that somewhere down the line Noesi figures it out. When it comes to being a big league starter, he has a little work to do. At the very least, though, he’s got the right “stuff.”
Yes, that was a very dumb New Kids on the Block reference. You’re welcome.
7. The offensive exploits of Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak are sadly disappointing.
Brendan Ryan hasnever hit, so this comes as no surprise. Were he to fall haphazardly from a canoe, there’s no guarantee he’d hit water. That’s how bad of a hitter he is. So bad that I’m resorting to cliches to describe him.
Justin Smoak, on the other hand, was supposed to be a hitter. He was once an über-prospect with a potential All-Star bat on his shoulder. Instead, he’s been nothing short of a complete disappointment during his near-two-year stint in Seattle.
Though no hitter in the Mariners’ lineup is particularly adept at putting bat on ball, Smoak and Ryan have been dismally bad in their offensive efforts this season. While Ryan’s defensive prowess warrants playing him most days, one has to wonder how long any team can continue trotting out a sub-.200 hitter, no matter how fancy his glovework may be.
With Smoak, the failure is more evident. From each side of the plate, the switch-hitting first baseman displays a long, loopy uppercut that isn’t conducive to line drive balls in play. Sure, it may be easy to send Smoak to Triple-A to work on his approach, but why not put hitting coach Chris Chambliss to work and fix the physical nature of an all-but-broken swing? That’s what hitting coaches are paid to do, is it not?
By contrast, there is nothing that will conquer Ryan’s demons in the batter’s box. He’s not a big league hitter. Thankfully for him, though, he’s an above-average big league defender. Essentially, he’s the white Rey Ordoñez.
Should two of the M’s regulars continue to hover around the Mendoza Line all season long, it’s no wonder this team will find itself in the cellar yet again.
6. Jesus Montero is slower than…
He is the ultimate liability on the basepaths. Honestly, I have never seen a slower 22-year-old that wasn’t morbidly obese. This guy would get lapped at a retirement home. They should give him a Rascal scooter to ride around the diamond. You have to wonder if his legs are okay, or if he was once stricken by polio. I’m guessing he may qualify for the Special Olympics. It takes him an hour to run 30 minutes on a treadmill. If he got caught on second base during a rain delay, he’d drown. His 40 time is measured by a sundial. Vultures circle his home run trot.
Okay. You get the picture. Jesus is slllllloooooowwwww.
5. Why is Chone Figgins still here?
Chone Figgins may in fact be the luckiest man on the planet. He is making $9 million to be an ineffective super-sub. He really should be playing in someone’s farm system, if not a slow-pitch softball league somewhere. He is the most reviled sports figure Seattle has ever had the privilege of hosting. And yet he continues to fester on the Mariners’ bench like a gangrenous rash on the bedridden underside of a man so disgustingly fat he must be removed via forklift from his decrepit home.
There are so many things wrong with Figgins’ mere presence that I barely know where to start.
Why, for one, did this organization ever think they could resurrect this tiny little flea’s career by batting him leadoff? What on earth has Figgins done in the past few years to warrant a move atop the lineup? And did anyone not see the impending backfire? It was bound to happen. This is Chone Flippin’ Figgins! He’s terrible!
Two, where did this team get off trying to tell us that Figgins, and not Kyle Seager, would be our third baseman to start the year? Seager has emerged as one of 2012′s pleasant surprises — and he wasn’t even supposed to be a starter! His time in the lineup is due in part to a slew of outfield injuries, as well as Figgins’ own impotence. Were it not for extraneous factors, we wouldn’t have even known what Seager was capable of this season.
Three, when Miguel Olivo returned from the disabled list, why did the team not seize the opportunity to release Figgins? Why, instead, did they send their current best-hitter-du-jour, Casper Wells, to Triple-A? Wells did not need to go to Triple-A. He simply went because someone found some reason to keep Figgins on the roster.
Not only has Figgins been a bust himself, his staying power has impacted or was destined to impact the development of others, such as Seager and Wells. With each passing day that Figgins remains a Mariner, he’s taking chances away from a younger player who could benefit from service time at the big league level. There’s no longer any excuse for keeping him around. Cut Figgins. It should have been done months ago. This is getting ridiculous.
4. Miguel Olivo is toast.
Miguel Olivo seems like a pretty decent guy. He tries hard, he hustles, he’s scrappy, and in interviews he appears to be quite pleasant. As a baseball player, however, Olivo is probably not cut out to play at the major league level any longer. And that’s the unfortunate reality of this situation.
Olivo is just 33 years of age, but he may be the most ancient 33-year-old on the earth’s surface. Maybe it’s just me, but the guy seems to move around with all the spryness of an older Jesus Montero. He’s also balding to a severe degree, and on top of that is a grandfather. Really. He’s a 33-year-old grandpa.
When Olivo isn’t putting children on his knee, rocking himself to sleep in a La-Z-Boy, or drinking Metamucil, he’s batting an anorexic .201 and letting roughly every other pitch find its way between his loins. Olivo is not so much a backstop as he is a gatewayto the backstop. He has a problem catching. Which is quite the dilemma, since his job title calls for him to, you know, catch.
Perhaps if Olivo was some sort of defensive saint like the apostle Brendan Ryan, the Mariners could find excuses for keeping him in the lineup each day. Alas, his defense is just as vomit-inducing as his Ryan-esque batting average. So why does he retain duties as the team’s primary catcher? That’s a great effing question that no one seems to have the answer to.
I like Olivo as a person. I’d like it even more if we could bid him adieu and wish him well as he rode off into the sunset. Presumably in an Oldsmobile.
3. The decision to replace Dustin Ackley as leadoff hitter is the SINGLE WORST DECISION the organization has made this year.
Yes. It really is. And I don’t have much else to say. Why you would demote a guy doing a great job for one performing below-average is beyond my comprehension level.
The Mariners have stunted Ackley’s growth by replacing him atop the batting order with Ichiro. Ichiro won’t (or at least, shouldn’t) be on this team next year. Ackley has the talent and ability to be the face of this franchise within the next five years.You interrupted his development to fulfill the selfish needs of a 38-year-old outfielder who has no future with your team.
This is just unbelievable.
The Mariners, more often than not, exhibit the dumbest Goddamn behavior. Serenity now…
2. This team can’t hit at home.
Blame the fences. Blame the marine layer. Blame the batter’s eye in center field. Blame whatever you like.
The fences don’t need to be moved in. The weather doesn’t need to be controlled. The roof doesn’t need to be closed. The backdrop doesn’t need to be altered.
The players. The players need to get better. And that’s just the fact of the matter. Better players equal better results. And these players are not good enough. Period.
1. Trusting Jack Zduriencik is becoming increasingly more difficult to do.
This is Year Four of the Jack Zduriencik era. In three-and-a-half seasons, the Mariners have posted a 249-324 record (.435 winning percentage) with Zduriencik at the helm. They are on pace to lose between 90 and 100 games yet again this season. The farm system is coming along, but so far hasn’t produced much of note for the big league club. In Jack We Trust, as a result, is starting to lose its luster.
The disclaimer here is that Zduriencik may or may not be handcuffed by his bosses, the notorious duo of team president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln. Armstrong and Lincoln have cast a shadow over this franchise for years, and to think that they have no impact on the current state of the team would be incredibly naive. Their roles have been discussed ad nauseam, both on this website and in other forums, so no need to digress. The fact is, when evaluating someone like Jack Zduriencik, one must carefully consider the impact of the men responsible for overseeing the entire operation. Fair or unfair, however, it’s time we placed some blame at the general manager’s doorstep.
When Zduriencik came aboard in 2009, the cupboard, as the saying goes, was bare. The farm system was depleted. The talent on the big league roster was minimal. The present was disappointing. The future was bleak.
What Jack Z. was tasked with at the time was rebuilding an entire organization, top to bottom. There’s nothing easy about that. He adequately got the job done in certain areas, pulling off a signature deal by offloading J.J. Putz, Sean Green, Jeremy Reed, and Luis Valbuena in exchange for Franklin Gutierrez, Mike Carp, Jason Vargas, and a couple minor leaguers.
While Putz has reemerged in Arizona as a closer, he is nowhere near the pitcher he was when he was in Seattle. Green and Reed have essentially become irrelevant, and though Valbuena reached the bigs with Cleveland, his impact has been minimal.
Gutierrez, Carp, and Vargas have all played significant roles with the Mariners since their arrival. Though none of the trio has really approached stardom, no one can argue that all three have been relatively solid and met, if not exceeded, expectations.
The Putz deal, as it will forever be known, has become Zduriencik’s hallmark for the past three-plus years. When supporters of the Z movement want to call out the man’s penchant for unearthing talent, they point to this deal as the one that stands above the rest.
There have been other deals that have seemingly worked in the Mariners’ favor during Zduriencik’s tenure. The trade of Doug Fister and David Pauley (who the Mariners re-signed to a minor league deal on July 12th) to Detroit for Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Chance Ruffin, and Francisco Martinez. The heist of Cliff Lee from Philadelphia in exchange for three seemingly irrelevant prospects. The swap of Michael Pineda and Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi.
But there have been a handful of duds, as well.
Sending pitcher Brandon Morrow to Toronto for Brandon League and minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez has had its up and downs; Morrow’s development as a Blue Jay, though, would indicate the Canucks got the better end of the deal.
Pawning Cliff Lee off on Texas for Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, and Josh Lueke hasn’t worked out nearly as planned. Smoak, as we all know, hasn’t developed the way anyone thought he would. Beavan appears to be, at most, an okay back-of-the-rotation starter. And Lueke, though his stay was brief, might be the biggest surprise of the deal thus far, as he netted the team catcher John Jaso in a subsequent trade this past offseason.
Signing Chone Figgins to a multi-year contract has certainly been a bust. Dealing Carlos Silva and cash for Milton Bradley was a complete disaster. A real sadist might bring up the fact that the M’s let 2012 All-Stars Bryan LaHair and R.A. Dickey go before they really developed. And then there are the moves that weren’t made.
The biggest failures of the Zduriencik era, in my mind, are those transactions that never occurred. This organization has a knack for holding onto players after their peak value has elapsed. League, as mentioned above, is one of those players. The same could be said for Erik Bedard and David Aardsma, two additional pitchers who the M’s relinquished for pennies on the dollar. The lack of foresight to perceive a player’s decline has been an obstacle the Mariners’ front office must overcome.
Additionally, there appears to be a certain aversion to risk among the Zduriencik regime. The players the team tends to acquire are those who many onlookers would say are “safe.” They possess low risk, and in turn offer a lower reward. They are not flashy. They are not potential superstars. They’re simply destined to become adequate major leaguers, at best, that get the job done on a day-to-day basis.
Perhaps the three most recent examples of this can be found in the team’s high first round draft picks: Dustin Ackley in 2009, Danny Hultzen in 2011, and Mike Zunino in 2012. Though the jury is still out on all three of these guys, it’s been deemed by the speculative gallery that none possesses quite the same sizzle as other players in their respective draft classes. Ackley and Hultzen were taken with the second overall picks in their drafts; Zunino was selected third overall. If any of these players fails to provide either a) measurable impact with the Mariners or b) an equitable return on the trade market, you can expect Zduriencik and Co. to lose their jobs sooner rather than later. With such an emphasis on the farm system during the Zduriencik era, such lofty draft picks must produce — and produce at a high level — for the current management group to be successful.
I want to believe in Jack Zduriencik. I want to trust the movement. But what have Jack and his cohorts given us to be happy about since 2009? There isn’t much, and with another 90-plus-loss season on the horizon, time, unfortunately, is running out for the organization.
Filed under: Mariners, Top 11
Once upon a time, I purchased an Ed Hardy t-shirt. I know. Stupid. But in my own defense, this was at the cusp of the Ed Hardy movement, prior to Ed Hardy making its name as the official clothing brand of douchebags. I realize that’s not much of an excuse, but whatever. I’m opening up to you people. Stop judging me.
Anyway, the shirt was fairly basic. It was black, short-sleeved, and was probably adorned with a few skulls and snakes and hearts and the like. I don’t really remember. I’ve tried to block this episode from my memory.
At the time, the shirt cost me around $20 to $25. I worked at Nordstrom, you see, and had a discount. Still, for me, that was a hefty price to pay for a t-shirt I was only sort of sure about. To make matters worse, as soon as I got the shirt home, I ripped the tags off, confident I would love and cherish my Ed Hardy shirt for all-time. Idiot.
Over the next couple years, the shirt sat folded in a drawer, untouched. I wore that shirt in public exactly zero times. And yet I couldn’t bring myself to give the shirt away. I had to justify my $20-to-$25 purchase by hoping against hope that Ed Hardy would rekindle itself as a clothing company with some level of respectability. What if I gave my shirt to Goodwill, only to watch Ed Hardy reemerge as the brand of an entire generation? I couldn’t risk that happening. So I kept it. And kept keeping it. I refused to let that shirt go.
I liken that shirt to Chone Figgins, disgraced Seattle Mariner that he is. Much like my ill-advised clothing purchase, Figgins was a poor investment by the Mariners organization a few years back. And not unlike me, poor investor that I was, the Mariners have attempted to justify their mistake by retaining an asset that carries minimal value and serves little practical purpose.
There’s no denying the fact that Figgins is the worst player on the Mariners’ active roster. The numbers tell part of the story, while the intangibles complete the tale. As he’s spent the past two-plus seasons underperforming between the baselines, Figgins has complemented his sub-par play with an equally sub-par attitude. He’s squabbled with his manager, bristled at the media, and in general, done very little to endear himself to a fan base that wanted so badly to see this guy succeed.
Ultimately, the Mariners will have to cut Chone Figgins. He has no discernible trade value and isn’t worth keeping around until his contract expires at the close of the 2013 season. On a team building towards the future, a deadweight veteran with little-to-no upside brings nothing to the table.
But instead of just severing ties with what manager Eric Wedge calls the team’s “super-utility player” — and there are all sorts of jokes to be made there — the M’s continue to cling to Figgins for no reason whatsoever.
On Thursday, the ballclub had their first great opportunity to dispose of Figgins’ festering presence. With catcher Miguel Olivo returning from the disabled list, a roster move needed to be made. Faced with a tough decision, the team crumbled under the pressure and instead took the easy way out, optioning outfielder Casper Wells to Triple-A Tacoma.
While Wells will benefit from extra playing time with the Rainiers, his confidence will undoubtedly suffer a blow from the demotion. True, he was essentially the Mariners’ fourth (or some might even argue, fifth) outfielder. But at age 27, Wells may not be much more than that. And with little left to prove in the minor leagues, should Wells really be forced to earn his way back to the majors? It’s not really fair. To Wells, to the 24 other guys who suit up each day, and to us, the fans.
There’s a reason we hate guys like Chone Figgins. At every job we’ve ever worked, we’ve known a Chone Figgins. He is the overpaid louse that casts a pall over the office and does nothing to help the rest of the team. What do they see in that guy, we ask ourselves. Why do they keep him around, we wonder. I’m putting in twice the effort with twice the results and I can’t get that paycheck, we cry. And it’s true. Figgins is more than just a shitty baseball player at this stage in his career. He’s a reminder that no matter how hard some of us work, we’ll never be as entitled as the high-priced investment that the company has hitched their wagon to. The Mariners have hitched their wagon to Figgins. The results of that single decision have hurt the organization, hurt the product on the field, hurt guys like Casper Wells, and insulted the fans who pay to watch this team play.
The Mariners need to rid themselves of Chone Figgins. They will end up releasing their “super-utility player,” eating the remainder of his salary in the process. But in doing so, they’ll separate themselves from a bad decision that has produced nothing but negativity for everyone close to the team. Why delay the inevitable?
About two-and-a-half years after I first obtained my one and only Ed Hardy t-shirt, I was preparing to move. As I was packing my things, I picked up that hideous crew-neck and gave it one long, final look. Then, without a second thought, I stuffed it in a plastic bag: Goodwill. I had finally absolved myself of that incredibly short-sighted impulse buy. It felt great. Good riddance.
Filed under: Mariners
As many of you know for the last couple of years I have made the trip to Peoria to soak in the sun and watch the Mariners as they got ready for the season. Both experiences were great and I highly recommend the trip south if you have never done it before. Sadly on both occasions Spring Training turned out to be the highlight of both the 2010 and 2011 campaigns.
So this year I have decided to stay home here in gloomy Seattle as I just can’t seem to get excited about the 2012 Mariners though it appears there is a good chance they will be better than the last two years clubs. I don’t think I’m alone with my “Wait and See” attitude here in the NW, in fact it seems that after 35 years many of the loyal die-hard fans I know are suffering from broken hearts on this Valentines Day when it comes to rooting for the Mariners.
I do wish I would have gotten a chance to see Ichiro up close one more time as he probably will be done after 2012 barring an amazing comeback. I suppose the same can be said for Chone Figgins, though I’m not sure if I ever want to see him again wearing a Mariners uniform whether I’m in Peoria or down at Safeco Field. And of course we have some good young talent that could surprise us all this year if everything clicks, but I don’t see anyway we are going to compete with the likes of the Rangers or Angels here in the AL West this season.
It will also be the second year without Dave Niehaus around and so that link to the past will begin to fade away and the Mariners organization will have to really go out on a limb with the marketing squad if they expect to pull on our heart-strings one more time with references to the glory days from 1995-2001. I suppose this years slogan will be something like “It’s Going to get Better Soon”. Or maybe some sort of reference to the Klondike Gold Rush era with: ” Mariners Prospecting for Gold” complete with new bobbleheads of our guys in “turn of the century outfits”.
I suppose I may sound a bit negative and perhaps a trip to Arizona would have done me good but this Mariners Fan just can’t seem to get excited about this year. Let me know how all of you are feeling about this season, if your upbeat tell me why, if not now is your chance to share a Spring Training rant with the rest of Mariners Nation. Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
Well the suspense is finally over as Prince Fielder and his agent Scott Boras have reportedly just reached a deal with the Detroit Tigers for $214 million bucks over nine years. The Tigers already had a powerful offense and now will be favorites to win the AL Central again. On the bright side Fielder did not sign with Texas and more importantly the whole “Fielder Watch” thing is finally over here in Seattle so we can begin to focus on our slightly improved Mariners as they get ready to head to Peoria next month for Spring Training.
I never really thought we had a chance at landing Fielder up here in “Mayberry with Skyscrapers” and am somewhat relieved with the news. However I am still stuck with the decision of whether to head down to Peoria for my third Spring Training in a row despite the fact that we are probably looking at another mediocre team that is a long-shot in the AL West. Sure we have Jesus Montero now along with Kevin Millwood and a handful of other interesting but not to dynamic offseason pick-ups, but it still will cost me a couple of grand for a week in the desert and I am on the bubble right now as far as pulling the trigger for the trip.
As some of you may remember I started this Mariners Blog a couple of years ago when I got caught-up in the hysteria of the winter signings of Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins before the 2010 season, and frankly it has been brutal writing about this club ever since not to mention the money I’ve spent on Spring Training junkets. Actually I’m not sure if I’m going to even be able to muster-up the energy and committment to write about the Mariners this season unless Jack Z. makes one more move with the reported $16 million in available payroll that he has to work with.
I’m ok with the pitching situation this year knowing we have some young guys including Hultzen that may be up with the big club soon. But I just get the nagging feeling that unless we somehow get an amazing comeback by Chone Figgins or better yet an upgrade at third via trade soon, we will still languish under .500 this year.
So this next week or so will be important not only for me as a Mariners Blogger/Fan, but for the future of the whole organization. Many hardcore fans like myself have completely run out of patience with the front office types with the possible exceptions of Jack Z. and Eric Wedge. I am ready to pull the trigger and spend some money and energy to support this team starting with another trip to Peoria, if Howard Lincoln and the unaccountable corporate owners group is. We shall see who blinks first……Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
I’ve reprinted the ad here in image form. Click the pic for a full-size glimpse of the ad. You can also navigate to the ad page (at least for now) by clicking here.
Filed under: Mariners
For the past two months, one of my friends has been telling me all about the Princess Jasmine costume she’s planning on wearing for Halloween. She’s been hinting about this costume, teasing about this costume, to the point where everyone who knows about this costume is anxiously awaiting its arrival. She also happens to be ridiculously attractive, making the whole getup that much more appealing. At the same time, all this anticipation has kept the idea of All Hallows’ Eve fresh in my mind.
Halloween costumes are never an easy thing. October 31st seems to sneak up on you every year. Without proper preparation, you end up dressed as a hobo, a monster, or Dracula, all of which are ill-advised counterparts to the Princess Jasmines of the world.
That’s why I’m here to help. I’ve come up with 11 costume ideas you might find useful. As a Seattle sports fan, most of these should resonate with you. And if you manage to pull any of these looks off, you’ll be more successful at your Halloween party than any of our teams have been in 2011.
So without further ado, let’s get in the holiday spirit and start the trick or treating…
11. Aaron Curry
This one sounds tough, but really it isn’t.
First of all, you’ll need a bible. Just carry that with you all night. Liven up the experience by quoting verses to whoever will listen. If you can mention “your path” at least a dozen times, you’ll be set.
Second, avoid physical contact with anyone and everyone. I know how difficult this can be, especially on Halloween. If you know anything about Curry, though, you know avoiding contact is an absolute must.
Third, throw spontaneous tantrums. Toss a chair, punch a dude, yell for no reason. That’s all part of “your path,” you see.
Fourth, make sure to sit for long periods of time. That’s what Curry plans on doing for the foreseeable future. You need to sell the act.
Get out there and start walking. This isn’t just any walkway. It’s your path. Win forever.
10. Keith Price
Unlike Aaron Curry, this costume sounds relatively easy, right? I mean, aside from trying to find a No. 17 Washington jersey, which Nike chose not to make this year. Good work, Nike. Smart. Sell us the backup quarterback’s jersey instead. That’s what we really want.
But I digress.
Fact is, you’re gonna need giant balls to pull off this costume. Because if there’s anything we know about Price, it’s that he has huge cojones.
KP4H. Learn it. Know it. Live it.
9. The Ghost of Matt Hasselbeck
Matt Hasselbeck is gone. He’s a Tennessee Titan. His spirit lives on in Seattle, however. And that’s good enough to make this costume work.
Cover yourself in a white sheet. Throw a No. 8 Seahawks jersey over said sheet. You’re done. Maybe cut some eye holes in the sheet first. But otherwise, you’re done.
Now all you have to do is find five fragile bodyguards to try and protect you throughout the evening.
You don’t even need to dress up for this one. All you have to do is ruin your friends’ plans by making them do whatever you want to do all night. Remember, it’s all about you.
Oh, and put on some skinny jeans.
7. Venoy Overton
You can do so much with this one. So, so much. Do I even need to explain? I don’t even need to explain. You already know what you need to do. Use your imagination. Get creative. This is like an elementary school art project. Go nuts. Then find a girl with braces to walk a hot track alongside you. Perfect.
6. The Green Hydro
Just wear green. And tell everyone you’re the Green Hydro from Safeco Field. If you can throw in a few witty remarks about tailpipes and lube jobs, you’re golden.
Everyone loves the Green Hydro. You’ll probably get laid.
5. Isaiah Thomas’s Haters
Isaiah Thomas has lots of haters. He does. I’ve heard about it on Twitter. I don’t know what they look like. Most of them probably hide behind user names and whatnot. Regardless, he has haters. And if you could find some way to embody this in a costume, I think you’d have a marketable product for one night.
Maybe put on Thomas’s Huskies jersey with a red “X” over the number. People will be like, “Oh, cute, you’re Isaiah Thomas!” To which you’ll respond, “Nah, I’m one of his haters. You may have heard about me. I lower the roof so he can raise it. You’re welcome.”
Yeah, okay. No one may get your costume. Whatever. At least it’s unique.
4. Ryan Divish
For those of you who don’t know Ryan Divish, he’s my good friend who also happens to be the University of Washington beat reporter for the Tacoma News-Tribune. Up until about a month ago, he was was better known as the paper’s Mariners beat reporter. Alas, he worked his way off the M’s beat and into what I consider a promotion.
Now, I know what you’re all thinking. Who wants to dress up like that guy? Well, frankly, that’s a damn good question. But you know what, I like to think that emulating a 5-foot-8-inch half-Asian dude would get you somewhere. Heck, if you take two inches from me, I do it every day. Plus, this guy has major appeal with sorority girls. Or at least he will. Once these chicks get past the fact that there’s more to life than Bob Condotta. Hey, listen up ladies! Condotta’s married. You don’t stand a chance. At least not legally.
Anyway, here’s the thing about Divish. He has a very specific type of dress. It’s not going to be easy to mimic this, but here is what you’ll need to be successful:
- A Montana Grizzlies shirt. That’s Divish’s alma mater. You can’t be caught dead without that maroon tee.
- A New Era baseball cap from an obscure team. Pick any team that no one likes. Lately, Divish has been wearing a Colorado Rockies hat. Outside of the 25 players on that roster, Divish might be the only guy in America sporting that lid on a regular basis.
- A puka shell necklace. If you know anything about Divish, you know he loves his puka shell necklaces. I swear to god, that dude must have a time machine. And every time one of those necklaces breaks, he jumps in his flying DeLorean and does 1.21 gigawatts back to 1999 to get new jewelry. Good luck finding the shells. This could be your toughest task of all.
Add some jeans and sneakers to the ensemble and you’re set to go. If you drink Crown Royal all night long, you get bonus points.
Someone please make this happen.
3. The Cynically Miserable Seattle Sports Fan
We all know this guy. He kinda sucks. No one really enjoys having him around, yet there’s at least one of him in every group. He usually wears the jersey of a player who hasn’t been around for five or six years. He hates life. He calls into sports radio bitching about everyone and everything. He enjoys the rain. He wears his North Face fleece all year long, even in the summer. He’s really into local politics. He drinks an expensive cup of coffee seemingly every waking moment of the day. He claims to know more than you about Seattle sports history, which in turn makes him better than you, thus giving him the right to shit on every positive moment we, as legitimate fanatics, may otherwise enjoy. He once shook Gary Payton’s hand. He occasionally talks to Ryan Rowland-Smith on Twitter, which is how he knows he’s cool. He has at least six hardcover books on sabermetrics. He listens to Coldplay. He has a beard because he’s cultured. He wears glasses because he’s cultured. He rarely showers because he’s cultured. The list goes on.
If you have a Milton Bradley jersey shirt, a North Face fleece, an ugly pair of khakis, sneakers, spectacles, and can grow a full beard in the next month, you’ve got this one in the bag.
2. Chone Figgins
The nice thing about this costume is they already sell it.
1. Slutty Hope Solo
You see the “slutty” costumes every year. Slutty firefighter. Slutty police officer. Slutty nurse. Well what about Slutty Hope Solo?
Sure, if you’re a good-looking, athletic female, you could pull off the Hope Solo costume easy. Soccer shorts, a USA top, shinguards…boom, done. But that’s hardly a challenge. You can do better.
Kick it up a notch by making your otherwise average Hope Solo attire slightly more provocative.
The shorts? Make them shorter. And tighter.
The socks? Make them knee-high.
The top? Turn it into a deep V-neck.
Hope Solo would be hot. Slutty Hope Solo is orgasmic. You can do this. Everyone believes in you.
Do it for America.
Filed under: Top 11
Well that was a depressing way to finish the game watching Chone Figgins taking three called strikes to complete his 0-4 night and allow the Washington Nationals to squeak out a 2-1 over the Seattle Mariners. Erik Bedard pitched another nice game but our offense looked more like the 2010 version of futility than this years scrappy version.
Eric Wedge did let Chris Ray come in to pitch in the 8th and he did a fine job so hopefully Wedge learned from his odd pitching decisions from the night before that he needs to trust Ray and Grey and not overuse his fab four relievers every night. I’m still reeling from last night’s game and it looks like the rest of the AL West teams have started winning on a regular basis now. In 24 hours we have gone from a team that was looking like it was going to be in first place to a club that is fighting to hold onto second with the red-hot A’s on our heels too.
I thought I would post this fun video featuring Justin Smoak spoofing an old Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water”. My friend and fellow Mariners fan Rob Raine who I met this year in Peoria put this together and hopefully it will help cheer you all up.Early game tomorrow then back home where perhaps we can make up some ground with the Florida Marlins. Go M’s http://jeffsmariners.com
If you have junk in your trunk, please go ahead and groove with the funk.
If we can somehow get this on the big screen at Safeco Field, everyone would appreciate that. Thank you.
Filed under: Mariners
Jettisoned from the starting lineup and relegated to a seat in the dugout, Donkey Watch has taken a turn for the worse for all involved. Donkey is quickly moving toward irrelevance, while the Watch is akin to a grass-growing vigil.
Manager Eric Wedge, having acknowledged that he is aware of what fans think of Donkey, did his best to protect the one-time third baseman by locking him up in the stable for a few days.
“He’s been real good on the bench,” quipped Wedge, in an apparent attempt at humor or something.
The move is only temporary, as Donkey will be returning to the lineup sometime in the near future, toting all the luggage in those saddlebags along with him — a .190 batting average, a lackluster defensive effort, and the ability to turn a rowdy crowd of spectators into a sullen group of hecklers with each trip to the plate.
For it’s ONE, TWO, THREE strikes you’re…booing his goofy little ass back to the bench.
Donkey Watch rolls on…
Filed under: Mariners
Donkey Watch is a daily, in-depth look at Seattle Mariners third baseman Chone Figgins, also known as Donkey from Shrek.
Because we’re on a mission to get Figgins to Japan (much like the jettisoning of Kenji Johjima a few years ago, which essentially saved the team from having to cut their losses, rid themselves of a dispensable player, and pay out a hefty severance), we figured we’d do our neighbors to the east a favor and give them an insider’s perspective on their future superstar.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really have a plan for Donkey Watch. It’s bound to be ludicrous, and we’ll just see where the wind takes us. If you have any tips on Donkey’s doings for the day, feel free to email them my way, or hit me up on on Facebook or Twitter.
Without further ado…
Donkey Watch: Day 1, May 30, 2011
It was a disappointing day for Donkey.
The team’s two-hole hitter for the past thirteen months, Donkey was dropped to eighth in the batting order on Monday. Sadly, Nicole Zaloumis was never around during Donkey’s tenure to ask him what he thought of hitting in that second slot.
The move down the lineup didn’t seem to help Donkey all that much. At no point was he able to hoof out a hit, going 0-3 on the afternoon and slumping to 0-for-his-last-20. According to Abraham Lincoln, 20 is also called a score. Which means Donkey is 0-for-his-last-score. We will now start measuring Donkey’s level of futility not in couples, fews, or dozens, but in scores.
On the season, Donkey’s batting average sits at a pack mule-esque .193. If .200 is The Mendoza Line (named after former Mariners shortstop Mario Mendoza), then we’ll call .190 The Donkey Line.
To make matters worse, Donkey committed a fielding error at third base, putting to bed the notion that his glove outweighs his lack of a bat.
There were a few bright spots for Donkey, however. Manager Eric Wedge mentioned that Donkey’s lineup migration was only temporary. And Donkey himself remained rather upbeat in spite of the circumstances, stating post-game, “My confidence level, it’s always high.”
There’s no doubting how high you must be to believe that, Donkey.
We close today’s Donkey Watch with an inspirational quote that comes courtesy Donkey from Shrek: “And then one time I ate some rotten berries. Man, there were some strong gases seepin’ outta my butt that day!”
Filed under: Mariners
In case you missed it, Chone Figgins (or as I call him, Donkey From Shrek) got a little upset with the media following the Mariners’ 2-1 loss to Cleveland on Saturday night. As much fun as Figgy could be if he was voiced by Eddie Murphy and hung out with ogres, he’s not much fun when he’s acting like a dickhead to people who are simply doing their jobs. And therein lies the problem.
Figgins’ attitude towards the media is a microcosm of the Mariners’ issues right now. Yes, this team is frustrated. Yes, this team is upset. But good lord, we’re one week into the freakin’ season. If you’re acting like this now, how’s it gonna be in August when the team is 75 games out of first and debating whether your multi-million dollar contracts are even worth it anymore?
And for God’s sake, who do you people think you are? If you want the media to stop asking “dumb questions,” then start winning some games. It’s that simple. You suck at your jobs right now. Isn’t it natural for people to want to know why you suck? Plus, you’re getting paid a lot of money to suck. That doesn’t seem very fair. Most of us don’t suck and simultaneously don’t get paid sh*t. Yet here you are raking in the dough and doing sucky work. That just blows. There’s really no other way to put it. It blows.
It’s one thing if you’re a poor mean person. Okay, whatever bum, I guess if you want to be jerk you have every right to be. The world is out to get you, I understand. But come on! Millionaires should not be acting like this. Not in public, at least.
Sorry, Chone. No one’s getting Figgy with your ‘tude. You need to shove it and stop being a little bitch. The world could care less about your problems. Just answer the f**king questions and quit being a dick about it.
And don’t kid yourself. You’re being a DICK. D-I-C-K. You haven’t done anything since you came to Seattle a year ago and our rope is getting awfully short with you. You don’t need to add fuel to the fire by being disrespectful. Maybe get the bat off your shoulder and do something with it. Ever thought about that? It’s not just there as a body ornament. It does serve a purpose. Oh, and on a side note, can you get in a real stance at the plate, please? You look like a starving child up there at the dish. At least try to strike some fear into a pitcher’s heart. I feel like if the umpire poked you in the belly, you’d giggle and start jizzing over dinner rolls or something. Nothin’ says lovin’ like my toaster strudels! Tee-hee!
I’m making a scapegoat out of you, Chone. But please, feel free to tell your teammates that they shouldn’t be acting like this either. You’re the messenger. Please follow through with that delivery.
You’re a professional athlete. You make tons of money. You play a game for a career. You get to have sex with beautiful women who are willing to overlook the gap between your teeth and play with your junk because of your bank account. I can only imagine how empowering all of that must be. Especially the part about the fornication.
Long story short, you suck too much right now to be a prick. So do your teammates. Give it a rest and go play baseball.
Filed under: Mariners